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AAHRPP Accreditation Guide

About AAHRPP and Accreditation

AAHRPP (pronounced “a-harp”) is an independent, non-profit organization that accredits high-quality human research protection programs in order to promote excellent, ethically sound research. To earn accreditation, organizations must provide tangible evidence—through policies, procedures, and practices—of their commitment to scientifically and ethically sound human research and to continuous improvement.

AAHRPP accreditation uses a set of objective standards to evaluate the quality and level of protection that an organization provides to research participants. The process is based on self-assessment, peer assessment, and continuous quality improvement.

The goals of AAHRPP accreditation are to:
  • Improve and strengthen the systems that protect the rights and welfare of individuals who participate in research
  • Communicate to the public the strength of WVU's commitment to the protection of human research participants

The benefits of accreditation extend beyond the research subjects and to the research enterprise as a whole. To find out more about the value of accreditation, visit this page from AAHRPP.

The Accreditation Process

There are four (4) major steps in the accreditation process.

  1. The first step is a comprehensive self-assessment and submission of the Step 1 application, which also included the development of new or revised policies and procedures. WVU OHRP submitted our Step 1 application on March 9, 2022, and it is currently being reviewed by a Step 1 reviewer.
  2. T he application is reviewed and a response to the review along with any revised supporting documents is submitted as Step 2 Application.
  3. This is then followed by a site visit from AAHRPP to evaluate our human research protections program. AAHRPP selects the individuals to be interviewed.  Anyone who has a role in WVU’s HRPP may be selected for an interview; this includes principal investigators and research team members, IRB members and administrative staff supporting WVU’s HRPP. 
  4. Finally, AAHRPP’s Council of Accreditation will review the site visit report at one of its quarterly meetings, where they deliberate on the team’s findings and determine our accreditation status.

For more information on AAHRPP, see aahrpp.org.

Accreditation Process
  • Step 1 Submitted: 3/9/2022
  • Step 1 Response: Pending
  • Step 2 Submitted:
  • Step 2 Response:
  • Site Visit Date(s):
  • Post Site Visit Report:
  • Response to Post Site Visit Report:
  • AAHRPP Re-Accreditation Granted:

WVU's Human Research Protection Program (HRPP)

Although the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a major component in the protection of research participants, it is important to remember that it is the University’s Human Research Protection Program (or HRPP) that will undergo review and accreditation.

The HRPP is not an office, but rather the collective effort by all of the components that participate in the conduct, review, approval, education, quality improvement, and facilitation of human research at WVU to ensure that WVU complies with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations and requirements.

HRPP Policies and Procedures

As a result of the self-assessment, new or revised policies and procedures were developed and implemented. These policies and procedures are available on the  WVU OHRP Standard Operating Procedures page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is AAHRPP and why is it important to WVU?

AAHRPP, the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc., is an independent, non-profit organization that reviews and accredits institutions engaged in human subjects research to protect the rights and welfare of the research participants. AAHRPP accreditation bolsters the university’s reputation as a leader in human subjects research. Research sponsors and other research partners increasingly consider AAHRPP accreditation before pursuing collaborations, or providing funding, for research.

For additional information on the value of accreditation, please visit this site

What happens during the site visit?

AAHRPP will select the individuals to be interviewed based on the protocols list and key HRPP personnel submitted with the accreditation application. Investigators will be selected who reflect the ranges of experience, protocol volume, types of ongoing research, and research risk levels at the organization. In addition to investigators, site visitors will interview study coordinators, co-investigators, and other study team members. Key HRPP personnel, IRB Members, and Human Subjects Office/IRB staff will also be interviewed.

How will people be selected for interviews?

AAHRPP will select the individuals to be interviewed based on the protocols list and key HRPP personnel submitted with the accreditation application. Investigators will be selected who reflect the ranges of experience, protocol volume, types of ongoing research, and research risk levels at the organization. In addition to investigators, site visitors will interview study coordinators, co-investigators, and other study team members. Key HRPP personnel, IRB Members, and Human Subjects Office/IRB staff will also be interviewed.

What interview questions will AAHRPP ask?

AAHRPP is interested in your awareness of and knowledge about key human research concepts and policies, including, but not limited to:

  • Human subject research regulations such as the Common Rule (45 CFR 46), FDA regulations, the Belmont Report, and Conflict of Interest Policies
  • Human subject protections and the procedures you use to implement them such as elements of informed consent, strategies for minimizing risk, reporting of adverse event and unanticipated problems
  • The strength and effectiveness of the HRPP, including education and training, adequacy of resources for researchers, and HRPP structure

NOTE: The specific questions you will be asked by the AAHRPP site visitors will depend upon your role within the WVU Human Research Protection Program.

I am selected for the interview. How can I prepare for it?
  • If you have been selected for the AAHRPP site visit interview, the WVU OHRP staff will help prepare you for the interview.

For questions or additional information, please contact Jessica Williams, WVU OHRP Assistant Director ( jessica.williams1@mail.wvu.edu), or Kasandra Lambert, WVU OHRP Continuous Quality Improvement and Education Manager ( kasandra.lambert@mail.wvu.edu).


*COMING SOON: Focused Site Visit Interview Guidance*